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Michigan Senator Gary Peters votes to approve $1.15 billion in arms sales to Saudi Arabia

September 22, 2016

Yesterday, the US Senate voted down a proposed amendment that would have blocked the proposed sale of weapons to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, by a vote of 71 to 27. Most Democrats, including Michigan Senator Gary Peters, voted in favor of the bill that would give an additional $1.15 billion in weapons to that Middle Eastern country.27649320274_40c75cd33b_z

Robert Naiman, writing for Foreign Policy in Focus, makes it clear why sending more US weapons in a bad idea. Naiman gives several reasons, but the primary reason right now is to make it difficult for Saudi Arabia to continue its war on Yemen. 

This is the same assessment that Majorie Cohan has on US weapons sales to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Cohen states, “Saudi Arabia has engaged in war crimes, and the United States is aiding and abetting them by providing the Saudis with military assistance. In September 2015, Saudi aircraft killed 135 wedding celebrants in Yemen. The airstrikes have killed 2,800 civilians, including 500 children. Human Rights Watch charges that these bombings “have indiscriminately killed and injured civilians.”

Longtime anti-war activist Medea Benjamin just published a book entitled, Kingdom of the Unjust: Behind the US-Saudi Connection. In a review of her book, David Swanson states: The United States keeps rushing more weapons to Saudi Arabia as it uses them — with help from the U.S. military — to bomb houses, hospitals, and schools in Yemen, killing civilians by the thousands and non-civilians by the thousands, including with the use of cluster bombs. 51bf7phvkol-_sx356_bo1204203200_

Senator Peters does not have strong financial ties to the US weapons industry, but he is a major recipient of pro-Israeli money, like his predecessor Senator Carl Levin. This is relevant since the relationship between Israeli and Saudi Arabia continues to mature, which is another major reason these two countries are the top recipients of US military aid.

On can not emphasize enough the relationship between the role of Saudi Arabia and Israel as it relates to longterm US policy goals in the Middle East. One recent example is the Israeli-Saudi Red Sea deal, as reported by Middle East Monitor.

Senator Peters, as recently as last week, affirmed his continued support for Israel in a Press Release from September 14, that supports the recent US agreement to increase US military aid to Israel. The Press Release states: “The agreement will increase security assistance to Israel from $3.1 billion to $3.8 billion per year. As the largest military aid package provided to any country in U.S. history, this agreement reflects the importance of the U.S.-Israel relationship and our unwavering commitment to the Jewish state.”

For the US, maintaining massive military funding to Israel and Saudi Arabia will only escalate violence and conflict in the region and Senator Peters is complicit in that violence.

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